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Race and Family in the Colonial South

Race and Family in the Colonial South

Edited by Winthrop D. Jordan & Sheila L. Skemp
Paperback : 9781604733952, 192 pages, July 2009


This volume of papers from the Porter M. Fortune Chancellor's Symposium in Southern History held at the University of Mississippi in 1986 questions what was distinctively "southern" about the colonial South. Though this region was a land of diversity and had the kind of provincialism that typified other English colonies during this period, the editors find it nearly impossible to characterize the colonial South as unique.

The roots of southern distinctiveness, however, were taking hold in the years before the American Revolution, as the papers here attest. In the opening essay Tate surveys recent historical scholarship on the period and targets trends for further study. Next, Galloway examines Indian-French relations in eastern Louisiana during the eighteenth century. Smith describes the family unit and examines the various forces that worked against its formation.

In an examination of three slave-owning families, Morgan casts a new light on slavery in the colonies which he argues to have operated within a harsh patriarchal system that stressed domination, "order, authority, and unswerving obedience. " Menard's essay also is on the subject of slavery, showing the unique system in the Low Country of South Carolina. In the final paper Middlekauff assesses each of the preceding papers and suggests subjects for future studies of the colonial South.